Brand El Paso (fixed)

Mithoff Burton Partners (“where creativity goes to die,” as one commenter put it) were given $300,000 by the City of El Paso to generate some kind of fake viral advertising campaign for the community. What El Paso got was It’s All Good. As Bill Burton said at a recent meeting to rally the troops for this failing campaign, “It’s not a brand, it’s a phrase.”

Well, seeing how El Paso doesn’t have a brand strategy, I’ve decided to offer one here.

First, what is El Paso’s Unique Selling Proposition? What does El Paso have that no one else has?

That’s right. El Paso is the most Mexican of American cities. (Unless you count Mexico as part of America, and then El Paso drops down to seventh.)

But Mexico has kind of a bad reputation at the moment, because it’s not safe. But El Paso is safe. It’s the safest big city in the United States.

So our brand strategy is El Paso: Just like Mexico, only safer.

Well, that works as a brand strategy, but it fails the slogan test. It’s not sexy. It’s not fun. It’s not memorable. It’s only marginally better than It’s All Good. So we need a slogan that embraces the brand strategy, and gets out of the way of Mexico’s darker image.

So here it is:

El Paso: The Sunny Side of Mexico.

I’ll be looking in my mailbox for the check. Or job offers. Or please, contribute your own ideas in the comments.


  1. El Paso: Just the Tip (of Texas)
    El Paso: “The biggest little Mexican restaurant in the World”
    El Paso: Land of Lonjas and Lapbands
    El Paso: “We PREFER to be 10 years behind your city!”
    El Paso: “I only did it twice”
    El Paso: “Shit, is that where I am?!”

    1. These are hilarious, Chris.

      Rich, the general idea behind yours — Mexico without the passport, etc. — isn’t bad, but the problem with emphasizing “safer” is that it reminds people just how close we are to “more dangerous.” Safe is boring, dangerous is scary, and El Paso’s problem is that it’s somehow perceived as both at once.

      1. No, John, you missed the point. We don’t say anything about ‘safe.’ We don’t have to. We say ‘El Paso: The Sunny Side of Mexico.’
        ‘Like Mexico Only Safer’ is the untold back story. That’s the truth to which we obliquely refer.
        I think the real reason that Mexico has dropped out of the city’s marketing plans is because the people making the decisions are trying to downplay our Mexicaness. When it’s undeniable. When 30 percent of the billboards visible from the freeway are in Spanish. Our Mexnicity should be treated like a strength, instead of a liability.
        They used to plug Mexico when it was a separate entity, but Mexico isn’t a separate entity on the border. We’re cafe au lait, but all the city’s marketing guys are pushing is the cream.

        1. I feel you, but “sunny side” still has an obvious obverse, and in the popular imagination the place El Paso’s sourcing its cafe from is about as dark as it gets. Is there a way to get your idea across without incidentally hinting at a sunny/dark, safe/dangerous-type dichotomy?

  2. Brilliant, Rich. I see sunshine, happy people and enchiladas with an egg on top.

  3. You’re late, Rich. Abel and I on “The Show” with Hector & Abel on FOX 1150 have already offered the best phrase to replace “It’s all good,” which is not anything but a commonly used expression heard everywhere including TV and movies, and one for which no one but an idiot would pay. They didn’t even bother to translate. We will the allow the use of our phrases for the small amount of $30,000.
    El Paso: Border City of the Future
    El Paso: Ciudad Fronteriza del Futuro

  4. The problem with “Border City of the Future” is that it sounds an awful lot like “Come to El Paso, because we’ll eventually make something of ourselves.” My idea of a slogan would be: “El Paso – Come for the weather. Stay for the friendliness.” If it’s alright, I would prefer to have my 30 grrrs in the form of a ‘The Red Parrot’ credit line. lt looks like l’m gonna have a helluva Christmas vacay. Now if you peeps will excuse me, l have to start typing out my acceptance response after l win the “Best Blogger Response of the Week” Award.

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